6:29pm

Wed November 30, 2011
Middle East

For Iranian-Americans, Sanctions Can Be A Minefield

At the beginning of last year, Mahmoud Reza Banki's future looked bright. He was a senior associate at the prestigious consulting firm McKinsey and Co., and had been accepted to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

But Banki, 35, was arrested in January 2010 and charged with accepting large money transfers from Iran that violated U.S. sanctions against that country.

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6:11pm

Wed November 30, 2011
The Two-Way

45,000 Told To Evacuate German Town Before WWII Bomb Defusement

This upcoming weekend, a team of German explosive experts and members of the army are scheduled to defuse an unexploded bomb found in the city of Koblenz in Germany. The bomb — with 3,000 pounds of explosives — is a remnant of World War II that emerged in the Rhine River because of low water levels.

As if that wasn't curious enough, authorities ordered half of the city's residents — 45,000 people — to leave, while they get the job done.

Der Spiegel reports:

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5:53pm

Wed November 30, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Medicare Offers Expanded Coverage To Battle Expanding Waistlines

Keeping off the pounds is tough at any age. Now seniors are getting a helping hand from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which has announced that it will cover screening and counseling for obesity as a free preventive service for Medicare beneficiaries.

Coverage is effective immediately.

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5:24pm

Wed November 30, 2011
World

U.S. Considers Sanctions On Iran's Central Bank

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 11:13 pm

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves in Pakdasht, southeast of Tehran, Nov. 23. Ahmadinejad on Wednesday said he was surprised at European moves to isolate Tehran's central bank.
HO Reuters/Landov

Iran has been dealing with economic sanctions for years, but the country could soon face measures tougher than anything it has encountered before: Legislation moving through the U.S. Congress would target the central bank of Iran, with the likely effect of severely limiting Iran's oil exports.

Such sanctions would almost certainly damage Iran's economy. The challenge would be to make sure other countries are not hurt as well, given the fragile state of the global economy and the tight global oil market.

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5:17pm

Wed November 30, 2011
Energy

A Debate Over Who Regulates Gas 'Fracking' in Penn.

A drilling rig looms behind a barn in Tioga County, Pennsylvania.
Scott Detrow StateImpact Pennsylvania

A new Pennsylvania law could curb municipalities' ability to zone and regulate hydraulic fracturing — or "fracking." And that raises questions about how much say a local government should have over what goes on within its borders.

State lawmakers are grappling with how to update Commonwealth's decades-old Oil and Gas Act to catch up with a natural gas drilling boom.

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5:17pm

Wed November 30, 2011
Energy

Big Solar Project Moves Forward Without Uncle Sam

Originally published on Thu December 1, 2011 4:05 am

SolarCity has received financing from Bank of America Merrill Lynch to install solar electricity systems on houses on military bases, like one here at Soaring Heights Communities at Davis Monthan Air Force Base outside Tucson, Ariz.
Lend Lease

We've heard a lot about Solyndra, a solar panel maker that went bankrupt despite lots of federal subsidies. But on Wednesday, a solar installation company and one of the country's biggest banks announced a billion-dollar project to put solar systems on the roofs of military housing. And they're doing it without the kind of federal help Solyndra got.

When SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive came up with a plan to put solar on the rooftops of military housing around the country, he was sure he'd need federal backing to get loans for such a big project.

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5:13pm

Wed November 30, 2011
The Two-Way

Survey: Americans Will Forfeit $34 Billion Worth Of Vacation Days In 2011

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 5:28 pm

A traditional arabic Dhow sails in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Chris Jackson Getty Images

For the past few years, the travel site Expedia has conducted a survey about the world's vacation habits and like in years past, this year's survey found that the United States is one of the countries that gives its workers fewer vacation days and one of the countries in which workers leave the most number of vacation days unused.

CNN Money reports:

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5:01pm

Wed November 30, 2011
Opinion

A Father's Promise, Reinvented And Renewed

istockphoto.com

Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and an NPR commentator.

When I was five, my father made a promise he never intended to keep. He had returned from a long trip, with presents. I got a fossilized shark tooth, and spent the next month asking about fossils.

At some point, my father made the mistake of describing a massive fossil bed somewhere in Germany. I begged him to take me. There were good reasons that could never happen. Dad knew nothing about fossils; Germany was far away; I was five. But I would not be deterred.

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4:41pm

Wed November 30, 2011
Economy

Stocks Soar, But How Strong Is The Economy?

The U.S. economy is experiencing its strongest across-the-board growth of the year, as private companies hire more people, some manufacturers expand and the stock market surges on a plan to ease Europe's financial crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 490 points Wednesday, an increase of more than 4 percent.

But analysts say the economy isn't growing robustly enough to lower unemployment, stem government layoffs or revive a housing market that remains extremely weak.

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4:19pm

Wed November 30, 2011
Lexington/Richmond

Pension Reform Pitch at the State Capitol

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray Speaking Before a Legislative Committee at the State Capitol
Stu Johnson WEKU News

Lexington’s mayor today asked state lawmakers to loosen their reigns on his city so it can enact pension reforms.   Like most Kentucky cities and the Commonwealth itself, Lexington needs to fix its pension program.  But unlike other Kentucky communities, the state must approve any pension reforms enacted by Lexington’s city leaders.  “The headline in all that is we’ve got problems there…you all know about these problems…you’ve got them at the state level to…ours is unique because you have a special legislation associated with Lexington,” said Jim Gray.

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